Elder: Carer Stories

Elder is hiring on Placed! The UK’s fastest growing live-in care agency, Elder is looking for new carers who have empathy, patience and a genuine desire to help people.

To help you learn more about what it takes to be a carer for Elder, we’re sharing some stories straight from Elder carers themselves! Read about how this role has benefited them, and why this might be the job for you.

Bawanile Ngubane

Elder Carer Bawanile

From an early age, Bawinile Ngubane knew she wanted to help people to live well. She trained as a nurse in her native South Africa before coming to the UK, where she worked in the NHS for over a decade. After a family bereavement forced her to take a break from nursing, she began a temporary live-in care role.

“My background is in nursing – and helping people manage their conditions has always been my interest.

Coming back to the UK (after flying to South Africa for a family crisis), I found that the hospital wanted me to go through a ‘back to practice’ programme before starting nursing again – so I looked into care as a way to work while I was waiting. Within two weeks I had a placement – a doctor in Richmond who had cancer.

It was meant to be a temporary placement, but I ended up being there for three years! By the time I finished in 2016, I knew that I really liked live-in care as a job and that I didn’t want to go back to nursing.

The flexibility of the work is good, but I also found live-in care more fulfilling in terms of job satisfaction. As a nurse, I had job satisfaction, but… it was limited because there you are in a very institutionalised environment.

Social care gave me this kind of satisfaction, especially live-in care, as I can spend as much time with my client as they need, and I can give them my all. Importantly, you get to know people – that is the wonderful thing. You come in as a stranger, and by the following week you’re becoming closer, and you’re getting to understand them, and they are getting to understand you.

…As a carer, your listening skills must be as sharp as your communication skills, because that’s where you find out how this person likes their care. […] You have to remember that before they became a client of Elder, they lived a full life… They have a history, and you need to get to know about their life to know about them.”

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Catherine Mukiibi

Elder Carer Mukiibi

Catherine has been a carer for over 20 years, supporting people in their own homes, first with domiciliary work and most recently with Elder as a live-in carer.

“I’ve worked in most settings, but I have always enjoyed supporting people in their own homes on a one-to-one basis the most.

I also like the fact that work placements with Elder don’t have to be consecutive. I can do placements for three months and then go away for a month – which is also important to me because now I also have to look after my own parents and travel back to Africa to support them when I can.

When I first started live-in care, I wanted to experience different clients, and I have had many experiences now, from people with spinal injury to those with mild and severe dementia. It has made me an even better carer. My shortest placement so far has been five days, my longest was four weeks in a row for a couple. I was there to support the husband, but I also ended up caring for his wife in some ways.

Within three days on a placement you know whether it suits you or not. I am an upfront person. I always inform Elder if a placement is too challenging. I had one where the client would ring the bell all through the night and I was exhausted – I needed some help from Elder to negotiate that.

Overall, you have to be self-driven and find a way of making the placement successful – the biggest percentage of that is on your side as the carer. You have to be a key player in the placement and make things work.”

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